Fables de La Fontaine, Tome I
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Librairie de L. Hachette et cie. . Paris
Language note: French
PQ1808.A1 1867 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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At last a genuine first edition of Doré. It was so good of Edward to let me know about it! This is, like its companion Volume II, a huge and heavy book. A wonderful showpiece for the eighty-four full-page wood engravings; the 248 head and tail pieces come out unusually distinctly here too. The more I know Doré, the more I enjoy him, and this book presents his work so well! Consult Justin Schiller's Realms of Childhood, 149. This is apparently a first edition that came out in 1867, 2 volumes, printed in red and black inks, with red borders and gilt all around. But I believe that this is not the deluxe edition that Schiller speaks of there, for he speaks in terms of its large woodcuts all printed directly as proofs on India Paper (mounted). There is no mounting here. The covers are red with gold inlay; notice how various animals play in the broad strokes of the letters of La Fontaine's name. The same work was also issued in 58 weekly fascicles on lower quality paper. The full-page wood engravings, like GA (6), come off the page vibrant! A wistful head piece like that for L'Hirondelle et les petits Oiseaux (20) is exquisite. Some slight foxing. The interplay between Doré's two illustrations for a single piece is often fascinating, as with those for OR (52): the powerful man on his horse charges past a fallen tree in the headpiece; in the large wood engraving, the tree is up--and majestic!--while the horse and rider are fallen. In the head piece for Le Loup plaidant contre le Renard par-devant le Singe a monkey judge listens to two human beings (62), This is a book to read standing up! So many of the full-page illustrations are famous and have appeared on covers of translations, and so reading this book is like meeting celebrities in person! A new pair of favorites are the two illustrations for L'Avare qui a perdu son Trésor (198). Another is Les Médécins (236). At the back are alphabetical tables of the large gravures and of the fables of this first volume. The book belonged previously to Caroline Tappan.